Fine Gael Senator Maria Byrne has welcomed news that University Hospital Limerick is set to benefit from a second MRI scanner before the year end.
Currently there is only one MRI scanner for all public patients in the region’s main hospital, serving the whole of the Mid-West and a population of 473,000 people.
At today’s House of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health, Senator Byrne raised her concerns with Minister for Health Simon Harris TD over the availability of MRI scans at UHL during the committee’s quarterly meeting on health issues, a meeting dominated by ongoing health matters in Limerick.
In response to such concerns HSE director of acute operations Liam Woods told members that as part of the HSE’s Winter Program, University Hospital Limerick is to require a MRI scanner within the next two months at a cost of between €1 million to €1.4 million.
“The announcement from the HSE that a second MRI scanner is set to be delivered to University Hospital Limerick before Christmas is very much-welcomed as currently there is only one MRI scanner throughout the whole of the UL Hospital Group, a service that is only provided between 8.30am and 5pm, Monday to Friday,” said Senator Byrne.
“There is currently just one MRI scanner available to public patients at University Hospital Limerick which serves the whole of the Mid-West region.
“Recent waiting lists showed that up to 44 patients awaited a MRI scan which is why the requirement of a second MRI serving the people of the Mid-West is long overdue and badly needed to help alleviate overcrowding concerns at the Dooradoyle-based facility.
“I am aware of patients being taxied from UHL to Barrington’s Hospital in the event of them needing an emergency MRI Scan.
“According to the HSE, a key factor in patient flow is the time it takes for patients to avail of a MRI scan, leading to the ongoing bed capacity and overcrowding issues we now see on a daily basis.
“I will continue to advocate and fight for crucial health services for Limerick and the Mid-West region,” she added.